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For Immediate Release
September 22, 2014

Total Recovery Not a Myth

 Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio Says Spiritual, Physical and Psychological Strategy All Part of Treatment and Recovery

Philadelphia—For many struggling with addiction, true recovery seems light years away, even though repeated attempts to escape the grips of alcohol, drugs or even food are sincere.  Additionally, some treatment programs embrace the philosophy that full recovery is not possible and that individuals will always be ‘in recovery.’  September is National Recovery Month, which promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. The aim is to send the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, that treatment is effective and people can and do recover.  Karl Benzio, M.D., a psychiatrist and founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network (www.lighthousenetwork.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says total recovery from addiction is possible but involves a spiritual recovery as well as a physical and psychological one.

“Jesus came to start a behavioral health revolution,” Benzio said. “He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. In fact, when Jesus healed the leper, He did so because the man was psychologically in despair, alone and frightened. Above the leprosy, the man’s psychological struggle was much bigger. Jesus knew this, and reached out and touched him, communicating that the man was loved and that Jesus wanted to connect with him regardless of his disease. Yes, Jesus healed his leprosy, but the disease was secondary in importance to the leper’s psychological wounding and healing.”

Addictions, Benzio added, are not the primary illness, but come as a result of repetitively using a maladaptive and ineffective coping skill to deal with external stress or internal psychological discomfort.

“Once we look underneath the addiction to unearth the psychological struggles that are actually causing the addiction,” he said, “we can properly address the origin of these struggles and the person will no longer need to pursue the addiction for peace, fulfillment or contentment.

“The Bible tells us in Romans,” he continued, “that we can renew our mind by living in a transformed way. Psychologically speaking, this means once we begin making healthy decisions—godly decisions—our brain chemistry is re-circuited, re-wired and balanced. So even though part of addiction involves misfiring neurons, godly decision-making can rewire a defective brain chemistry in a lasting and permanent way, as long as that healthy decision-making process stays in place.”

Addictions are rooted in pursuing things that are created rather than pursuing the Creator. Therefore, the road to total recovery begins when we pursue the Creator for our desires. Then, amazing life transformation occurs, allowing us to clearly resist the tug and enticement of the empty hollow promises of the created objects, Benzio added.

“God designed a spirit, mind and body—a very intricate design,” he said. “The physical is the least potent, but it’s the final step of any mood, thought or action we have. Chemicals interact, and our mind affects our brain chemistry. It is not our environment, as many believe, but our decisions as we respond to our environment that affect our brain chemistry. But the most important factor is the data we use to interpret our life situations and make decisions. When we use the spiritual and psychological truths of the Bible to view our internal and external world and then respond in a godly way, we initiate a cascade of events spiritually, psychologically and spiritually that start healing and total, lifelong recovery.”

Benzio also noted that those struggling with addictions and have hopes for recovery can be helped through a three-pronged treatment approach involving the spirit, mind and body, as well as a recognition of an important and necessary ongoing growth and transformation process.

Those concerned about a friend or loved one should reach out for help through a trusted mental health resource or hospital. And the most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring lasting healing and transformation.

Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/im-family-a-friend.

Lighthouse Network representatives and counselors also help those in need navigate the complex health care system and complicated insurance processes, offering expertise to clients to maximize their insurance in order to obtain the best treatment option with minimal out-of-pocket cost. Lighthouse can also help those without insurance find treatment options,

Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.

Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.lighthousenetwork.org,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.

Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.

For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit www.lighthousenetwork.org or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

To schedule interviews with Dr. Karl Benzio at Lighthouse Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at dhamilton@hamiltonstrategies.com, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.

Lighthouse Network is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that offers an addiction and mental health counseling helpline providing treatment options and resources to equip people and organizations with the skills necessary to shine God’s glory to the world, stand strong on a solid foundation in the storms of their own lives, and provide guidance and safety to others experiencing stormy times, thus impacting their lives, their families and the world.

Karl Benzio, M.D. is the founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network. With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, Benzio went on to medical school and then specialized in psychiatry. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students counseling and conflict resolution skills in Uganda and Kenya; leading a behavioral health team into post-Hussein Iraq to equip health care specialists with treatment and assessment skills and successfully testifying for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives opposing legislation for Plan B contraception administration and for President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics regarding Right of Conscience. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council. His specialties include Adolescents, Addictions, Decision-Making, Infusing Spirituality into Practical Treatment Modalities and the Ramifications of Decision-Making on Social Policy.

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